Skip to main content

Monday 23 November 2015

Solent Students Volunteer in Sri Lanka

Every job-seeker today knows the value of work experience.

With fewer than four per cent of psychology graduates that apply for Clinical Psychology doctorates being successful, getting some practise in a working environment is often more important than academic achievement and as such, competition for placements is fierce.

Solent students Louise Ruffell and Olivia Harper decided to look further afield, and travelled to Sri Lanka on the SLV Mental Health Placement.


With just one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people in Sri Lanka, the country’s mental health care still has a long way to go.

For several weeks, Louise and Olivia shared the skills they had learnt at Solent at psychiatric hospitals in the country, running therapeutic activity sessions at centres for individuals with various special needs.

Students taking part in the placement.

They were trained and supported to work sensitively within the Sri Lankan culture, and to make the most of the under-resourced facilities and challenging environments.

Olivia says: “Working out in Sri Lanka where you are truly needed and your help is truly appreciated is so rewarding.

“I loved working on the wards helping the patients who otherwise would get little or no stimulation throughout the day. Teaching the different classes really helped boost my confidence massively.”

Olivia in Sri Lanka.

SLV, the organiser of the trip, is a volunteer organisation that was founded in 2010 by psychology graduates who were also seeking work experience.

Partnered with the King’s College London Resource Centre for Trauma, Displacement and Mental Health, SLV recruits students to support people with mental health issues in Sri Lanka to reduce the care deficit.

SLV is currently recruiting for mental health, teaching and special needs placements in 2016. Those interested in volunteering should visit its website.

Olivia in Sri Lanka.